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Tack trunk and emergency supply kit - what's in yours?

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  • Tack trunk and emergency supply kit - what's in yours?

    I know there is a thread from more than 10 years ago on this topic, but I'm sure that there are probably many new opinions products and people to add to the conversation. So, what are the absolute necessities in a tack trunk/first aid kit for a full care boarded horse? What are some convenience items you'd recommend? 2 weeks until my first horse and I want to be prepared! So far, in my incomplete collection (by picking up items that I've needed for my job, things that were on sale or when I found them at a good price) I have:

    Saddle/pads/girth - already riding the horse so I know these fit
    Need a bridle - getting it this week
    2 breakaway halters (one for the horse to wear, a back up for in my trunk)
    Grooming kit with curry, spring curry, sweat scraper, shedding blade, hard brush, finishing brush, mane and tail brush, comb, sponge, 2 hoof picks (1 with a brush, 1 without).

    So far in my first aid kit I have (all brand new):
    a small bucket
    a tube of corona
    wound kote
    epsom salts
    Clear Eyes
    Drawing salve
    Vet wrap

    I know I'm going to accumulate a TON of stuff over the years, but I am mostly concerned with separating out into 3 lists:
    Must have day 1 list
    Should have ASAP list
    Nice to have eventually list

    Non-horsey husband is feeling the new horse sticker shock, so I'm trying to spread out the tack shop expense whenever possible!

  • #2
    CONGRATS on your new horse! You must be so excited!!!

    Does your boarding facility keep Banamine and Bute handy? If not, you may want to talk to your horse's vet about keeping a bit of each on hand and when you would use them.

    I keep a stethoscope, thermometer, and some sterile water or saline handy as well. You may also want to print a list of normal vital signs and how to take them. Here's one I found with a quick search: http://www.wikihow.com/Take-a-Horse%27s-Vital-Signs .


    • Original Poster

      I will ask the barn manager and vet on Wednesday when they come in to do vaccines. They are letting me come in and meet the vet and watch him get his shots even though he's not officially mine yet.


      • #4
        An iodine based scrub or similar for wound cleaning is an absolute necessity.

        Gauze or non stick wound pads (Telfa) are good things to have.

        An assortment of syringes for cleaning wounds or delivering medication. I suggest a 60cc, 25cc and 12cc.

        A roll of duct tape - and NOT the cheapie stuff - is nice to have. I buy Professional Duck tape.

        I use zinc ointment often. Other people might use Corona ointment or Bag Balm for similar uses. I like it for sunburned noses as well as minor scrapes.

        A bucket. One of those small personal pail size ones that are very often used for grain feeds. Having a clean bucket to use when cleaning wounds or doing a hot compress is very helpful. Plus you can store your first aid bottles in it.

        Something to scrub with - surgical scrub brush, face cloth. Keep it somewhere it will stay clean (ie. in a closed container - I have a small bin for my non-expiring first aid items).

        ​​A thermometer.

        A small notebook and pen/pencil for making notes of things like breathing, heart rate, temperature, etc to tell the vet in an emergency.

        Believe it or not, sugar. Plain, white, the kind used in baking sugar. Packing a wound with sugar creates an environment that bacteria don't like, the same way saline does, but sugar doesn't sting like saline. The sugar also has a drawing action which can help pull infection from a wound. Sugar and iodine make a good poultice for a hoof abscess. I keep a small tub of sugar in my kit.

        For non first aid stuff - a knife, a permanent marker, a weight tape, human bandaids. I have a very small box with a snap on lid that I keep little odds and ends like these in.

        Tack cleaning/conditioning supplies.

        I keep a spare hoodie and a pair of socks in my box. There is always a day in the fall or spring, or even summer, that I didn't dress warmly enough and didn't bring an extra layer with me that makes me glad I have the hoodie. When I stepped out of a rubber boot stuck in sucking mud last fall I was very glad I had the socks.


        • #5
          Thermometer, rolled cotton, bandage scissors, standing wraps, masking tape, duct tape, rubbing alcohol, betadine scrub and solution, hoof packing, poultice, alushield, furs in, dmso, bute, banamine, ulcergard, elastikon, exam gloves.

          It's always good to have a backup of most tack, but especially reins, girth, and stirrup leathers.



          • #6
            Thermometer, stethoscope, sterile gauze, rolled cotton, sterile saline, non-stick gauze pads, vet wrap, gloves, syringes, betadine or chlorhexadine scrub, whatever wound goop your vet recommends, alushield, bandage scissors and regular scissors, standing wraps, diapers to fit your horse's hooves, duct tape,

            Some stuff depends on your relationship with your vet and your comfort level...and should always ask vet before dosing, but I keep:

            Banamine, bute, previcox
            ulcer guard, Dormosedan gel, ace (grouped these together because they also always come if I'm trailering anywhere)
            SMZs, and because of where I live, at least some Doxycycline or Minocycline
            Triple antibiotic eye ointment--though eyes are always at least an emergency call (as in contact with the vet)
            (Depending on the barn, a lot of this stuff the BO/BM will keep on hand in case of emergency and charge later)

            I also keep a zip up sleazy hood, but that's because I'm in a tick area and having an IV catheter in and having to give IV antibiotics is common...the sleazy keeps them from ripping it out.


            • Original Poster

              What are these items? I've never heard of them:
              Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
              alushield, furs in, dmso, ulcergard, elastikon.


              • #8
                OP, you don't need a ton of stuff. On hand, I'd have a gauze roll, a cotton sheet, a vet wrap, and a set of standing bandages. You absolutely don't need all those lotions and potions. Maybe a small tube of antibacterial ointment, a gentle cleanser, and a wound coating spray or ointment. It may be a good idea to have a tube of bute paste and a tube of banamine paste. A rope halter and a long lead rope.

                If you have a regular need for all those lotions and potions and drugs, I'd question the management of the facility.
                "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederatcy against him."


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                  OP, you don't need a ton of stuff. On hand, I'd have a gauze roll, a cotton sheet, a vet wrap, and a set of standing bandages. You absolutely don't need all those lotions and potions. Maybe a small tube of antibacterial ointment, a gentle cleanser, and a wound coating spray or ointment. It may be a good idea to have a tube of bute paste and a tube of banamine paste. A rope halter and a long lead rope.

                  If you have a regular need for all those lotions and potions and drugs, I'd question the management of the facility.
                  I was wondering. It did seem like an awful lot, but there is the OCD person in me that would like to have a squirreled away supply of things just in case. There are over 100 stalls on the property (but one whole barn is rented out to a trainer who manages those horses herself and my horse isn't in that barn). It just boggles the mind! I figure most of it will sit in my trunk and never be used (at least I PRAY most of it will never be used!) I also know that some of it can be used for humans should the need ever arise, so there's that...


                  • #10
                    I would run your question past the barn manager. Is the horse in full board? In that case, the first responder will most often be the barn staff. Ask what they do for cuts and scrapes. Ask what they do for things that need clear emergency vet care, and if you need a credit card or account set up with your vet, their vet, etc. Ask what emergency supplies they have on hand that you can use.

                    As far as most of the other lotions and potions, you will acquire them as you have need of them, if horse gets a sunburn or a rash or a fungus or thrush or an itchy butt or pulls a muscle. What you really need, and probably have in the Barn Manager or staff, is a mentor who can look at a common ailment that's new to you, tell you what to go get, and lend you a squirt for right now.

                    Human bandaids are also a great idea.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by msbecky521 View Post
                      What are these items? I've never heard of them:

                      Sorry my phone edited furacin into something else.

                      Alushield is like liquid bandage, which is good for areas you can't wrap and that goop doesn't stick to well. Furacin + DMSO makes a sweat bandage. They also have uses individually. Ulcergard can be good to have on hand for a show horse--it's a gastric ulcer preventative. Elastikon is a tougher tape bandage compared to Vetrap, and some bandages made with rolled cotton and Vetrap need some Elastikon on parts to hold up. You can also put a bit of a non-stick wound pad over minor wounds and wrap with Elastikon. This is how some injection sites are covered for the first day. Elastikon can also be used to secure a catheter, because it's a lot more sticky than Vetrap on hair.


                      • #12
                        I am of the camp that you can go fairly minimal to start with and then acquire things as needed with each new challenge your horse presents (and he will). Lots of those "just in case" items do have expiration dates. If you are the type inclined to throw out things that are past date, wait until you need them to acquire them - except possibly bute and banamine. Those you should get by rx from the vet unless the barn keeps them stocked and available.

                        With the magic of internet shopping and expedited delivery, unless you really are in the middle of nowhere, you should be able to acquire whatever you might need fairly quickly if you can't pick it up locally.

                        Other large-ish tack items I haven't seen mentioned - horse boots and blankets. Maybe they will come with the horse?


                        • #13
                          When I got my first horse I had just the basics and counted on more experienced folks helping me out--because I wasn't about to be giving any IV meds any time soon should the need arise. I acquired my horde slowly.

                          I have my medical supplies in a large mouth soft sided tool box. That way it's super portable and I have everything I need-- I can even just throw it in the trailer when I go too and not have to worry about keeping up with two sets of medications (and making sure they're not expired or exposed to too much summer heat or winter cold).

                          In addition to what everyone else has already mentioned, I now have syringes both that take a needle that those that do not. The ones without needles are great for giving meds or flushing out wounds. I also scored these syringes of saline from a doctor---there's no needle so it's perfect for irrigation. I always keep IV banamine--didn't have it at first either--- and buscopan--certainly didn't have that at first. But one surgical colic with post op ileus later it's amazing the things you have after.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by msbecky521 View Post

                            I was wondering. It did seem like an awful lot, but there is the OCD person in me that would like to have a squirreled away supply of things just in case. There are over 100 stalls on the property (but one whole barn is rented out to a trainer who manages those horses herself and my horse isn't in that barn). It just boggles the mind! I figure most of it will sit in my trunk and never be used (at least I PRAY most of it will never be used!) I also know that some of it can be used for humans should the need ever arise, so there's that...
                            I guarantee you that my jar of furacin is about 10 years old! I think I might have some Corona that is now a solid block.
                            "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederatcy against him."


                            • #15
                              I'm having to condense my stuff down to one Tack trunk. I'm putting the following in mine
                              Fly Spray
                              Tick remover and jar of alcohol
                              Healthy Haircare for detangler (My fav)
                              Duct Tape
                              Epson salts
                              Drugs- Banamine, Bute, Ace,
                              Syringes and needles
                              sterile gloves
                              Thermometer (2)
                              Stethoscope for checking for gut sounds
                              Clean bucket
                              Scissors - Probably 5-6 pair, they grow legs.
                              Grooming kit - Mine is insane so not going there.
                              Saddle pad (2)
                              Extra reins, stirrup leathers, extra girth for when the pony has a fat day.
                              Tack cleaner and a sponge.
                              Bucket, sweat scraper, sponge
                              Towels and burlap for rubbing out.
                              Clippers and a few blades
                              Witch hazel as a cheap brace
                              Extra halter and lead rope
                              Peppermints, sugar cubes, granola bars, extra bottle of water, and Tylenol, box of tampons(I've saved many a barn rat from embarrassment)

                              Anything that requires more than that I'll call a vet out for. Many of the items listed I've picked up at the Dollar Tree or a drug store on sale, especially scissors, Epson salts, cheap buckets, sponges, soap, detangler, a scrubber for cleaning buckets, witch hazel, a roll of duct tape, saline. etc

                              I keep everything in gallon sized zip lock bags inside my clean bucket.

                              If you are at a full board barn, I bet they already have a decent first aid kit until you get yours filled.
                              "Anyone who tries to make brownies without butter should be arrested." Ina Garten


                              • #16
                                I love threads like this. I've put an asterisk by stuff you should be able to get at the dollar store.

                                *Tube of desitin or other zinc oxide paste (is a sunscreen, scratches remedy/prevention, use to help hair grow back)
                                *Tube of vaseline (gnat barrier, can replace Swat when mixed with fly spray, use with thermometer)
                                *Small bottle of betadine/povidone iodine (dilute and use as wound wash, brush disinfectant, thrush treatment)
                                *Small bottle of alcohol and some cotton balls or pads
                                Tweezers, scissors, thermometer
                                *Roll of duct tape
                                * 4-5 baby diapers (for wrapping a foot)
                                Witch hazel lotion - great non-irritating liniment substitute and can be used to soothe bug bites
                                *Tube of triple antibiotic cream
                                *A pound of sugar (repack in a tupperware or other sealed container - mix with iodine (look up sugardine) for abscesses and wounds
                                *wooden or large plastic spoon
                                *tupperware or other plastic bowl to mix potions (like sugardine)
                                *Couple of empty spray bottles (for witch hazel leg, or diluted iodine, etc)
                                Roll of cotton for wrapping legs, or leg quilts/no bows (at least a set of two)
                                Bottle of benadryl tabs (allergic reaction - keep on hand but call vet first)

                                Vet wrap (4 rolls)
                                Clean rags for cleaning (old cut up towels)
                                Some latex gloves (just a handful kept in a zip lock to keep them clean)

                                Aluspray or Alushield (this is the bomb for wounds. Seals and disinfects. Keeps flies out but you can also spray fly spray on top when it dries)
                                Good fly spray (not Bronco - ultra shield, tri tec, piranha or endure are good)
                                Small bottle of baby shampoo (for washing face)
                                Aloedine shampoo (can dilute and use as regular shampoo, or stronger solution and let sit awhile to treat fungus and nasties)

                                <b>A Blocker Tie Ring</b> - If you are alone at the barn at night and don't have someone to hold your horse while you wrap his hoof, pull a splinter, scrub a wound, etc use this. Do NOT put him in cross ties. Even a horse that cross ties well can get freaked out or anxious while being tended to, and esp. if you are under him wrapping, you do NOT want him to pull back or freak out. I've seen this happen a bunch. Used correctly this has give and the horse won't panic.

                                <b>Magic tasty substance to hide meds in</b>
                                This you'll have to figure out according to horse's preference. Mine will eat powders mixed in a couple handfuls of sweet feed (which is not part of his ration, but barn always has some). He'll eat pills chopped up and sandwiched in fig newtons.
                                Really nasty stuff gets layered with oil and molasses in an enormous syringe (with the tip cut off) and squirted into his mouth. Figure this out early as you don't want to be desperate to get meds into him one night with no way to do it. Some people mix meds with pudding cups, fruit yogurt, wrapped in a fruit roll up, applesauce, etc. Maybe this is just my horse, but once I mistakenly bought cinnamon apple sauce and he literally retreated to the back of the stall and stared at me with this hurt look, as if I'd tried to poison him.

                                <b>The goodwill of your fellow boarders </b> If they lend you something return or replace immediately. If someone needs a roll of vet wrap in an emergency and you can spare a roll, give it to them. If someone gives me a tub of magic cushion or some other nice supply to use, keep the borrowed tub and buy them a new one to replace it.


                                • #17
                                  Well, mine are at home, so I have to have everything... Not sure if I covered it all, but this is the general gist of it...

                                  Novalson (Chlorohex)
                                  Triple Antibiotic
                                  Proudflesh powder
                                  Neomyicin (for eyes)
                                  Dorm gel
                                  Epsom salts

                                  Syringes, 3 cc, 6 cc, and large flushing syringes
                                  Thermometer (and I end up buying a new one every year - the batteries die)

                                  Vetwrap (I have an entire case of it)
                                  Sterile gauze bandages in ALL sizes
                                  Cotton wrap
                                  Standing wraps, small and tall
                                  Duct tape
                                  Electrical tape
                                  Clean towels
                                  Gloves (I bought a box of them and keep them in plastic baggies)


                                  In my truck (which means it is with me when I'm hauling), I keep a couple of standing wraps, a few vet wraps, a good knife with scissors, a couple of sterile gauze bandages, and a few sample packets of various wound treatments. Every time I'm at a vendor fair where they hand out samples - I add anything useful to my "travel kit". If I'm going away with my horses overnight, I add a tube of Banamine and some Ranitidine.

                                  If you are at a boarding stables, you might ask what they keep on hand, and let them know you expect to reimburse them for use of their supplies, but if that saves you from having to buy EVERYTHING, it is worth it. Plus - some of the stuff does expire! I try to go through my prescription stuff every Spring and throw away the stuff that is out of date - most meds are good for a year after the "expire" date, then they lose efficacy quickly.